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Facebook advertising seems to have turned everyone’s heads recently. But if you’re currently focusing your efforts on Facebook you could be neglecting some other highly effective ad formats across other key platforms.
Instagram and Snapchat are both innovating with new visual ad formats that are well worth exploring. To some extent, Instagram has taken some of the wind out of Snapchat’s sails in the last year or two.
Instagram has a larger and more mature audience than Snapchat, although users of Instagram don’t spend as much time on the platform as Snapchat users spend on theirs. It’s more expensive to run campaigns on Snapchat but it offers superior reach to Instagram.
There’s also some evidence that ads on Snapchat seem to get more visual attention compared to those on Instagram. But Snapchat’s analytics aren’t free to use and many advertisers are disappointed with the platform and its immature advertising offering. Meanwhile, YouTube ad formats continue to return good results in a manner many brands find highly cost-effective.
Instagram’s shoppable options
In case you weren’t already aware, Instagram has been taking a major share of consumer attention for some time now. There’s a high incidence of consumers following brands on the platform, and it’s good for product discovery. Instagram’s been experimenting with ad formats supporting these behaviours.
Most recently the platform has introduced shopping features to Stories for business profiles. There’s a bit of a process you need to go through in order to be eligible and it’s only available for products rather than services. Once set up, you can add stickers to your visual content to enable the shopping features.
The beauty of shoppable stories is that the viewer can just sit back and passively consume the content you’re offering in a kind of product carousel.
It’s full-screen, like all Instagram content, meaning there are no distractions to the viewer’s immersion in your content. One other advantage of creating shoppable content on Instagram is that you can also aim for inclusion in the Explore channel that’s specifically geared towards casual shoppers.
This means your shoppable content could be offered to consumers that are browsing for products. It’s got the potential to be a great way to reach new audiences who are in the mood to buy something.
It’s important to stay conversion-focused on Instagram and keep an eye on the platform as it continues to add features that can benefit you commercially.
Everything you do on there should be part of a pre-defined strategy but you may need to keep updating that strategy as the platform is evolving quickly. The main thing is to get your head around product tagging – and of course create beautiful content!
Snapchat’s shoppable ads
One ad format that seems to be a worthwhile innovation is Snapchat’s new Collection Ads format. These let you show brief video clips of your products which users then click into if they want to buy or explore further.
Snapchat reports high engagement. Snapchat offers pretty strong guidance on how to get the most out of this ad format, from advice to keep one strong message and front-load your branding in the first two seconds.
Video advertising with YouTube
Of course, Instagram and Snapchat aren’t the only platforms out there. YouTube remains a significant draw of consumer attention. Brands that are using YouTube’s TrueView product, which claims to only show viewers videos they’re interested in, tend to find them highly effective, yet there’s a low rate of uptake on these very targetted ads.
If you’re not already active on YouTube, TrueView ads are well worth exploring. They also have shoppable features making it easy for customers to click straight through and buy your products.
Perhaps it’s because brands find the skippable format frustrating and intimidating. Consumers watching YouTube content have to sit through 5 seconds of your ad before they get the option to skip straight to the content they wanted to see.
But the advantage to brands is that you only pay for the ad content that’s viewed beyond 5 seconds or when a viewer interacts with your content; for example, by clicking a link in it.
If you’re plunging in with TrueView ads, you should aim for a video ad between 10 and 30 seconds long. Obviously, the content in the first 5 seconds should compel viewers to watch the rest. And remember to explore the other features offered by the ad type as well as the eCommerce click-through link option.
You can insert cards and clickable calls to action into your video to get the most interaction possible. Your ad doesn’t have to go at the start of content – you can also create what YouTube calls discovery ads, which are served to the consumer when they search for content as part of paid search results.
The viewer then has to choose to click to view your ad. That option is useful if you’re targeting people looking for information on the platform.
Like Facebook, YouTube offers rather superior facilities for brands working in multiple languages. The channel has good advice for brands that cater to international audiences, such as how to approach subtitling. If you’re a global brand, it’s worth taking this into consideration as it makes your job easier when it comes to engaging multiple audiences in the different regions that you operate.